Skip to main content
8:00 pm
special place we call home. we want nebraska to be anything better place to live, work and raise a family. let's begin this conversation. we can find a nebraska commonsense solution. thank you very much. [applause] ..
8:01 pm
this is two hours. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning everybody and welcome. this morning the committee considers the nominations of two very distinguished officers to two of the most active and challenging combatant commands. general lloyd austin united states army nominated to be commander u.s. central command and general david rodriguez u.s.
8:02 pm
army to be nominated to be commander of the u.s. africa command. these two combatant commands centcom and africom are the centers of gravity for our military's operations to counter the threat of terrorism. oath nominees have served our country with distinction and i want to thank each of you for your decades of military service and your willingness to serve once again. i understand that general austin 's wife charlene and general rodriguez' wife jen air with us this morning and i want to a knowledge them and thank them for their sacrifices, their support to our nominees throughout the years which is so essential to the success of our nominees and as is the
8:03 pm
committee's tradition are nominees are invited to introduce any family members or friends who may be with them this morning with their opening remarks. if confirmed general austin will assume command of centcom during it critical transition. not for military operations in afghanistan. in the coming months afghan forces will assume the lead responsibility for providing security throughout their country, the coalition forces stepping back through a support role. on tuesday, president obama announced during his state of the union address plans for drawing down half of the 66,000 u.s. troops in afghanistan this year, a 34,000 troop reduction by february of 2014. the president continues to consider options for a significantly reduced u.s. military presence in afghanistan after the end of 2014, which will depend on many things but
8:04 pm
in part on negotiations with the government of afghanistan over legal protections for our troops. the president has made clear that then missions of residual u.s. presence in afghanistan after 2014 will be limited to current terrorism operations and training and advising afghan forces. general austin would bring exceptional experience in overseeing this transition, having commanded u.s. forces in iraq during the reduction of u.s. forces and equipment from iraq. just this past weekend our forces in afghanistan have had a change of command, with general joseph duckworth replacing general john allen as commander of the international securities systems forces and commander of u.s. forces afghanistan. i want to take this opportunity to thank general allen for his thoughtful and devoted
8:05 pm
leadership in afghanistan, for his forthrightness and his interactions with me and the rest of the members of this committee. when senator reid and i visited afghanistan in january, we saw a real signs of progress, including the afghan security forces increasingly taking the lead responsibility for protecting their country. good news stories about afghanistan and the afghan security forces don't seem to get the coverage of the u.s. media that is given to negative stories. for example, it was widely reported that only one of the 23 afghan brigades is rated by isaf is independent. on the other hand we heard from our commanders in afghanistan that 87% of operations in afghanistan's critical regional command east are carried out solely by afghan security forces. another success story is now the
8:06 pm
18,000 strong afghan local police program. these community defense forces when coordinated with district level national police and afghan army forces are more and more effective in powering afghan communities to defend against taliban intimidation and violence. plans are being developed to increase the authorized size of the alp program from 30,000 to 45,000. the next centcom commander will also play an important role in shaping our enduring partnership with afghanistan after 2014. the partnership that i fully support. ike m. concerned however by the plants to reduce the afghan national security forces by a third starting in 2015. 352,000 to 230,000 by 2017.
8:07 pm
i believe that any future reductions in the size of the afghan forces should be based on security conditions in afghanistan at that time and this afghan security forces make and providing for their country security, we should reassure them that we will continue to support these efforts by deciding that as we withdraw our forces that there won't get drawdown and afghan forces. progress in afghanistan remains fragile and significant challenges to afghanistan's long-term stability remain. among the greatest threat to its stability are the safe havens for afghan insurgents across the pakistan border. the government of pakistan has failed to disrupt or eliminate. in addition the major shortcomings of the government of afghanistan in delivering governance, fighting corruption creates political and economic instability that could
8:08 pm
exacerbate the challenges in the 2014 transition. in addition to afghanistan sense, as can -- contend with when the most difficult issues in our security debate, the threat posed by iran in pursuit of its nuclear program. as the centcom commander general austin will be at the tip of the spear with regard to preparing militarily for the detention of an armed conflict with iran. he shares the presence view that all options must be some remaining on the table. including its relentless pursuit of its stability fomenting the violence through proxies such as hamas and hezbollah and through its own covert activities in the region. already destabilizing events in syria, yemen gaza egypt and sudan are made worse by iraq spending and supply of terrorist
8:09 pm
organizations seeking to undermine governments to spark further conflict among sectarian and tribal groups. centcom has a critical role to play in leading efforts across the region to counter iran's aligned influence. events in syria continued to deteriorate. the impact of the assad regime's increasing dependence on support from iran and desperate actions to hold onto power can be seen in the thousands of refugees that flow into the towns and villages that syria's neighbors. while the united states is focused on providing humanitarian relief and nonlethal assistance to the syrian opposition, the centcom commander will be asked to advise on the situation to syria including whether to provide legal assistance to the opposition, with eight the united states should conduct limited strikes against key syrian military capabilities and whether the united states should seek to build a coalition of nations to take more significant
8:10 pm
military action. these are extraordinarily complex issues that general austin will be asked to share his views on today. centcom's area of responsibility remains a central location of many of the nonstate terrorist threats to our nation faces. in addition to core al qaeda in pakistan and the reemergence of al qaeda in iraq, al qaeda and the arabian peninsula remains focused on attacking united states and our interests. our centcom forces continue to assist our yemeni security partners in preventing al qaeda from taking advantage of areas in yemen where the government has limited control. the offense and ghazi -- benghazi were powerful reminder of our need and public expectations for a capable -- capabilities to respond quickly to crises around the world. this is one of the major
8:11 pm
evolving situations that general rodriquez has to address and it will consume a great deal of his time. it is far from limited to benghazi and libya. we have struggled in africa to find a foothold to allow for the responses to the type of events that occurred in benghazi and will allow us to conduct day to day operations lech intelligence collection. africom has received less in the way of resources and support and other geographic commands and this disparity indeed may grow in a resource constrained environment. these challenges combined with these destabilizing effects of terrorist and critical networks will make general rodriquez' task at africom among the most complicated in the department. an additional matter in the africom aor is committee watches closely is the ongoing u.s. support operations in central
8:12 pm
africa to assist the multinational effort to remove joseph kony and his top lieutenants from the battlefield. this committee and general inhofe has been very active in this effort and assad to ensure that this mission is adequately resourced including additional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. general rodriquez i know you are familiar with this mission and the committee looks forward to hearing from you about it and to working with you on it and so many of the other challenges he will be facing. i'm going to turn the gavel over to senator kaine who has agreed to take over because i must go to the floor and i i will call upon the senator inhofe. >> thank you mr. mr. mr. chair i join you in welcoming our witnesses. i've had an opportunity to get to know them in the past personally and i'm very anxious to mo vaughn with this and i think -- thanks charlene and
8:13 pm
jenny for being here. you are the ones who work harder than they do so we appreciate your sacrifices if they are concerned. general austin will be in charge of overseeing arguably the most volatile region in the world and in the midst of the declining defense budget. just last week secretary panetta announced the indefinite array of a a deployment in the middle east in development that was a darkly welcomed by the regime in tehran and egypt despite all the best hopes of the arab spring president morsi and the muslim brotherhood government has shown hostility toward the opposition groups and have taken an increasing bellicose tone towards our ally in israel. these developments require us to think long and hard as we will be sharing with them the controversial f-16 transfers and
8:14 pm
frankly i didn't agree with that but it's a tough area and i think if you look through that area, general austin you have iran and it maintains a determined to acquire nuclear weapons capability. it's been going on for a long time and we found our intelligence -- about the capability but they have developed so far. it's serious. and iraq are premature withdrawal has contributed to to a deteriorating situation and allowed al qaeda to establish a foothold in syria and assad's rain and brutality is claiming the lives of over 60,000 syrians and risks spilling into neighboring countries. in pakistan was a nuclear-armed government teeter i'm on collapse or a militant groups such as all the military groups
8:15 pm
that have enjoyed the safe haven and afghanistan men -- combat responsibilities to the afghan security forces. without a doubt we have got to make sure that the core structure and mission is driven by the facts on the ground and not arbitrary. we talked about this in my office. general rodriquez, hugh and i have spoken about the middle east and i have often said it is kind of the neglected continent and instrumental that we establish africom so there were no longer three different commands but one unified command it's a tough area and it's a tough area that has never had adequate resources to carry out what i consider adequately carrying out the mission and certainly the chairman mentioned the problem with the lra and that is a problem and is one that is not confined to as few. this charge in northern uganda
8:16 pm
has spread through the ca are in south sudan i might add that it's connected. it's all terrorists and it's all connected to yemen and it is a serious problem that we are going to have to deal with. it's the smallest of the regionally focused combat and command with less than 5000 boots on the continent and that's a huge continent so your work is cut out for you. we have talked about that, you and i in my office in detail so the challenge is to both face are very down -- not daunting but i am sure the both of your app to the task. it's going to be heavy lifting. as i said to you general austin my office, are you sure you want to do this and you said yes. thank you mr. chairman. >> general austin and general rodriquez we are ready to hear your opening statements and testimony and we appreciate you being here and your service and
8:17 pm
we will begin with general austin with general rodriquez to follow. >> good morning says. ranking member in half, distinguished members of the committee, i want to thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today and i also want to thank you for the steadfast and strong support that you have shown and continued to show to our men and women in uniform are army civilians and their families. it is remarkable all that they have accomplished over the past nearly 12 years of war and it was made possible in no small part through your personal efforts and those of your colleagues. so my thanks to all of you. i would like to take a moment to introduce my wife, charlene. i've been incredibly fortunate to have her as my partner for more than 30 years and she represents the many wonderful spouses who are the true unsung heroes of these conflicts. these conflicts. the supporters back home and in doing so enable our success.
8:18 pm
i think steve charlene for your love and support and your sacrifices and happy valentine's day. [laughter] i'm glad to date today to be joined by my teammate general rodriquez. he too is accompanied by his bride jenny who like charlene has done a tremendous amount for our soldiers and families over the years. david nice served a number of times over the years to include combat. he is a gifted leader that the great soldier and i'm pleased he has been nominated to command u.s. africa command. ladies and gentlemen it has been a tremendous privilege for me to serve my country in uniform for nearly four decades. i'm grateful to be able to continue to serve. i am honored, humbled to have been nominated by the president to serve as the commander of u.s. central command and if confirmed i've pledged that i will apply all of my experiences, judgment to the best of my abilities to help
8:19 pm
preserve and advance our nation's interest in that region of the world. general mattis has led central command master really over these two nephews. the impact of his leadership and the efforts of this team during this period of an tremendous if confirmed i intend to sustain and continue this important work the reality is that while much progress has been made in the centcom area of responsibility, quit there is still a great deal more to be done. our national interest and those of our allies and friends command vigilance as well as our continued commitment to do our part to help address the many challenges that exist to achieve and maintain security and stability throughout the middle east and south and central asia. of course our foremost priority remains the ongoing mission in afghanistan. soon we will be required to complete the transfer of responsibilities to the afghans and also transition our people
8:20 pm
and equipment out of the country just as we did in 2010 and 2011 when i served there just as we did in iraq in 2010 and 2011 when i served as the commander of u.s. forces iraq. this represents a herculean undertaking and if confirmed i will do everything within my power to help set the broader conditions for success in this most important endeavor. meanwhile, one must simply watch the evening news understands that the world we live in remains complex and extremely volatile. much of the instability and associated challenges remain in the centcom area and what we have to be pragmatic we must always be prepared to respond to contingencies whenever and wherever they occur around the world. if we truly want to have an effective and lasting impact in the region, our friends and allies must be assured of our support and our potential adversaries must understand that there will be consequences for their actions.
8:21 pm
as this past decade of conflict has clearly demonstrated, success, success and our many endeavors would require effective application of the full continuum of our nations instruments of power and influence. the military as well as economic and diplomatic and having worked closely with senior military and civilian officials in the various u.s. agencies and organizations, and also having worked closely with leaders from other countries and partner nations while serving in iraq as the commander of forces, i can personally attest to the effectiveness of these kinds of collaborations and if confirmed i will continue to cultivate my existing relationships while pursuing additional opportunities and partnerships that will surely prove beneficial. senator kaine, senator inofe these are historic in difficult times. the many challenges that exist provide opportunities and certainly a shared desire people
8:22 pm
to seek peace and harmony and prosperity and even in those places that have never before experienced. i fully appreciate the work ahead will be great and the road will not be easy but if confirmed i've pledged to give all that i have towards ensuring our success and the success of our allies and friends around around the world and those most worthy endeavor. thank you again for this opportunity and for your steadfast support for the servicemen and women and their families and i look forward to your questions. >> think you general austin. general rodriquez. >> senator kaine, senator inofe and distinctive members of the senate armed services committee thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i am honored the president has nominated me to serve as the next commander of u.s. africa and if confirmed i look forward to working closely with this committee as well as our joint interagency intergovernmental and multinational partners to address the challenges we face
8:23 pm
and the opportunities to increase stability on the strategically important continent. strong partnerships are the key to gaining and maintaining stability in the 54 nations of africa. how would also like to thank this committee for the sustained support it has provided to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guard's men and the department of defense civilians and their families during this time of conflict. they selflessly serve their nation at home and abroad are often in harm's way ultimately to assume their share of the risk and we are eternal he grateful for the support of the american people and congress. i would acknowledacknowled ge the tremendous efforts of general ham and his team at the united states africa command, his leadership helped sustain strong partnership are biting the foundation for continued engagement across the continent and globally. he has done a superb job and i hope if confirmed i can expand on the work that he has done.
8:24 pm
to general laid off an exceptional leader and a good friend, we have served together throughout peace and war in our careers and a significant number of deployments between us and i'm honored to share this experience with lloyd and charlene and i'm certain if confirmed floyd will continue his remarkable service to the nation nation and our servicemembers. i also want to thank my wife jenny for decades of service as an army wife and who has cared for a month after soldiers with empathy and understanding. she is also a wonderful mother to our children any a student at north -- melissa schoolteacher in north carolina and david the works with the department of the navy in washington d.c. and andrew a lieutenant in the army. i think the committee again for allowing me to appear before you today and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you general rodriquez. here is the procedure we will follow. i have a set of standard questions that we ask all witnesses that i will ask both
8:25 pm
of you to respond to and we will then proceed to rounds of questions alternating between representatives of the two parties and the rounds of questions will be seven minutes long, and then if there are additional questions in in the second round that members want to ask we will proceed in that way. let me begin with the standard questions we have the witnesses and these will help us exercise legislative and oversight responsibilities. do you would hear to applicable laws and regulations governing complex of interest? do you agree when asked to give your personal views even if those views differ from the administration in power? >> i do. have you assumed any duties are undertaken any actions which would appear to presume the outcome of this confirmation process? will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established for requested communications including questions for the record in the hearings? >> i will. >> we have cooperated providing witnesses and briefers to respond to congressional requests?
8:26 pm
will those witnesses be protected from reprisals from their testimony in any such breathing? >> they will. >> you agree or confirmed to appear and testify by request before this committee? >> i do. >> you agree to provide documents including electronic communications in a timely and/or when requested by a duly constituted committee or a consulting committee regarding the basis for any good-faith denial in providing such documents? >> i do. >> with that we will move to the questions and i will begin with senator donnelly. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank you a general austin and general rodriquez for your service to the nation and to your families for everything you have done. you may want to take them for valentine's day lunch to the senate cafeteria. and then you may not. [laughter] general austin, as we heard the president say the other night,
8:27 pm
he is looking to withdraw 34,000 troops from afghanistan, and my question is, can that be done in a way that does not leave afghanistan less stable? >> thank you, sir. whereas i was not a part of the process that helped to generate the proposals or the numbers of troops that we have drawn down and the rate at which they should be drawn down, i can tell you that from having been a part of that process before, the types of things that commanders consider going into those recommendations really account for whether or not they can accomplish the assigned objections and missions. i would assume that general
8:28 pm
allen and general mattis as they went through that process provided their best military advice and i would assume that to be the case that having not been a part of that i cannot speculate as to whether or not not -- >> how quickly we become a partner and taking a look at that in that determination? >> if confirmed served i will get into that right away and confer with general dunford and the chairman and make sure that i have full understanding of the objectives, the missions and the resources that have been provided to accomplish those objectives. >> and you will give us your unvarnished opinion as to the plan, how it works and whether it will meet your strategic objectives as you look at the situation that we are in? >> i will, sir and the objectives that are outlined by
8:29 pm
the senior leadership that have been had been provided to us. >> thank you. general rodriquez, as we look it your mission, one of the things that strikes strikes me is then of course in centcom too at how important it's going to be to build up our partners there so that they can be self-sustaining in protecting their own nation. how critical a focus is that going to be for you as you move into this position? >> thank you senator. that is a critical focus because obviously the objective is to have africans of -- supply security and stability for for themselves. there are a wide range of tools to do that in that will be a main focus. >> it seems that that could be the key to success there is being in a position where the training that we provide enables them to stand up on their own. general austin, as we look at the region that you will be commanding, one of the
8:30 pm
challenges has eyes been pakistan and our working relationship with pakistan. as we go through the withdrawal of troops to afghanistan both the men and women and equipment, do we have, and again you mentioned that you had not been fully involved in that plan but i would think one of the things you would want to do is continue to work closely with pakistan on that plan but also have alternative options if there are bumps in the road as we proceed forward with borders. are you going to be looking at that as part of what you look at when you get the plan in your hands? >> absolutely, sir. i think our relationship with pakistan is critical. it is a key country in the region, and my goal would need to immediately work to continue to build upon the existing
8:31 pm
relationship which is on somewhat of a positive slope right now, a positive path and i want to continue to build on that. again they will be key throughout and into the future. >> general rodriquez, as we look at your region, we just saw an extraordinarily tragic situation in benghazi and when we look at the country there and we look at the challenges that those nations already have in protecting themselves, and we often depend on nation security for our own consulates and embassies as well, as you look at that, will you be making for lack of a better way to put it, a study of how fast do we get to the consulate in where's the closest location to that consulates so that we have --
8:32 pm
that you have a plan that can make sure if our consulates are in danger, we will be there to protect them. >> senator if confirmed i will do a thorough study of time distance as well as capability spread throughout the region so we can respond in a timely manner and make sure the department of state is in forms that together we can make good decisions on the african continent. >> general austin as we transition from afghanistan the military gains and security that we have achieved, with all your experience in iraq with the transition there, think one of the biggest challenges is as the military leaves how do we make sure that sum up big gains in not just military but in state auctions in afghanistan that we are able to hold onto them? what experiences that you took
8:33 pm
away from iraq can help with that in afghanistan as we move forward? >> certainly sir i think our embassy will remain engaged and continue to work with the afghan leadership to help them build capacity and work with issues on our political system but i think having a competent security force helps to create the time and space for an amateur political system too much or and we would hope that you know, we would have the opportunity for that to develop. the afghans would make the right choice is going into the future and certainly having advisers around to help advise the military also helps to influence the rest of the environment as well. so i think the activities between the embassy, staff and
8:34 pm
what our military is able to do in keeping the afghan security forces focused, think that creates the time and space for the political system to mature. >> general rodriquez and general austin thank you so much for your service. you and your families have dedicated your life to our country and we are incredibly grateful to you. >> ranking member senator inofe. >> thank you mr. chairman. i've been agree with the remarks by the senator, your service in the time and the fact that i had the opportunity to be with you in the field at various times. let's see, i guess general rodriquez we spent some new year's eve together over there and we got to know each other pretty well. anyway in your opening statements you had some serious problems that you are facing over there. let's just start off on africom
8:35 pm
because that is something i'm perhaps a little more familiar with. we all go through this and you guys are not immune from it. you're trying to get to places and you have 54 countries and over 12 million square miles to adequately support africom and i'm going to ask you a question in minutes about the resources. in terms of time and distance, have you thought about how you are going to handle that? if you have a crisis in sub-saharan africa you will have a hard time getting there and what you think about that? >> yes sir i think that will require the solid coordination of agency partner so we can best understand the indication of warnings so we can best posture ourselves to be able to respond appropriately but as you know because of the time in the distance and the challenges that we have it will continue to be a challenge so if confirmed i will look at that very carefully and
8:36 pm
the requirements to the leadership and ensure that everybody understands the risks involved. >> is something you have no control over and that is where it is right now. frankly when we started after, i was pushing very hard for it ethiopia or someplace for headquarters in africa. as you know the problem there is the reputation of our involvement in africa is misinterpreted as colonialism type of an approach and i have to say this. every president that i have talked to including in tanzania, they all said we recognize it would be easier but there is no way we can sell it to the people. the reason i bring this up, there is always a lot of people here in the united states and members in our good friends in the senate who are likely to move the headquarters stateside and i think the best thing we can do right now, and i think
8:37 pm
you would agree, that it would be very difficult to move the headquarters. what do you think about -- to you and i talked about this. have you had time to look and see in terms of resources? as i said my opening statement we have 5000 boots on the ground. that is not much. do you have any comments going in right now as to how you are being resource particularly at a time with a drawdown we are talking about at the current time? >> senator thank you. as you know the challenges across the depth and breadth of africa that we are facing with the resources constraints that we are all living under will be a challenge in the end we just have to make the greatest assessments of where we are going to accept risks to ensure everybody knows and understands that and then the coordination between the interagency departments will be critical as we move forward.
8:38 pm
we all as commanders have to help our leadership assessed the risk throughout the cocom's and if confirmed i will execute that to the best of my ability. >> we have a lot of things that the chairman in his opening remarks talk about, the pla and joseph kony. my question is, if we are successful in our operation and helping them take out joseph kony, would you continue there are in recognizing that coney and the lr a. is part the terrorist group that goes far beyond originally in uganda and spread to south sudan and into the eastern. it is widespread and it is a serious problem. i would like to get your commitment to stay involved in that and recognized it for the problem that it is. >> yes sir and if confirmed i will continue to watch connie
8:39 pm
and the lra and the entire negative impact it has on the region as a whole. >> there are so many areas that people are not aware of right now. one of the things i would like and we made a good decision after 9/11 when we decided as a policy for this country that we would recognize africa and as the squeeze takes place in the middle east in the terrorism goes down through djibouti and the horn of africa that our idea was to put an five african brigades to help them, not us, but to help train the africans who are very receptive to do the idea so that when that happened down there we wouldn't have to use ours. that is kind of floundering and i would like to ask you to make those five african brigades a top priority during the time that you are spending down their >> we will do it senator. >> general austin, as i told you
8:40 pm
earlier i asked do you want this job? i would like to ask you in whatever time it takes to kind of look at the sequestration and how that is going to affect you in that critical region, and the outlined area by area and my opening statement. >> yes, sir. i believe the sequestration will have enormously negative effects on our services ability to resource our efforts and what will happen is that we are all committed to and all the services are committed to support the current -- which is what we should be doing but over time the follow on and the deployers will be less ready, and so our ability to respond to
8:41 pm
emerging contingencies in the region will have less of an ability to do that and we will have less flexibility and zero options because of the pressure and now with pressure on the budget. >> you mentioned for areas and you call them for principle levers the last time you were here before this committee. they were mil-to-mil and engagement plans and operations and security cooperation programs and posture. of those four what will be impacted the most by sequestration? >> certainly our presence and our posture in the region will be impacted and we are seeing that, the leading edge of that with the delay of the deployment again that begins to take away some of the flexibility and the options available. >> thank you very much. >> as a scheduled accommodation
8:42 pm
i am switching my times five to senator nelson and his questions will be next. >> thank you mr. chairman. in the delay of the deployment of that carrier which otherwise would go to the persian gulf region, -- >> that would be a part of its responsibilities as it completes its tour, yes sir. >> well, i asked that question because of course one of the continuing high-visibility questions is what is going to happen in iran, and if iran were to continue with the development of a nuclear weapon, we would need all the military assets that we could muster and the general has just pointed out that sequesters going to keep
8:43 pm
that carrier in poland, which is not a good thing. if we ever got into it in iran or if iran ever started their own aggressive actions by mining the strait of hormuz, we would need all of our navy assets that we could bring to bear. that is a there are statements is in the general? >> yes sir and general mattis has laid out what its requirements are, and so those requirements have been vetted and have been approved and again if he doesn't get the full complement then he will have to do some things to mitigate that. >> general, what do you see will be the remaining force when we
8:44 pm
are withdrawing and 2014 from afghanistan? >> sir, i believe that those decisions are still being made by the leadership with the input of general dunford and general mattis, and i don't know -- i'm not a part of that process and i don't know what the objectives are that the leadership want to accomplish and that really drives what the force structure should look like going forward so having been a commander in the field where i was working hard with the leadership to define options, i found it very unhelpful when somebody who wasn't a part of the process speculated on what the troop strength should be. >> in your experience, you have worked with the indigenous forces in the leadership of a
8:45 pm
country like afghanistan. can you give us your observations of the progress of that society over the course of the last few years and their ability to basically what i'm getting at is, have the afghani people regressed to the point that it's going to be very hard for the taliban to take over, once we leave and take them back to that feudal society that they were? what is your observation? speedster, my observation, first of all i think to the key elements or three key elements to kind of go into this equation as to whether or not things will remain on track or not our number one do we have a credible security force to help guard
8:46 pm
against the challenges that will no doubt come in the future? we have worked hard with the afghans to build a security force of 352,000 in a relatively short period of time and it's still growing and still evolving incapability. the second thing is i think the political policy needs to mature and the people have to begin to have faith and the leadership and the leadership has to be inclusive and has to reach out to people and they have got to provide a good governing mechanism for the country, and that is critical. i think the security forces can provide the space for that to develop. it's going to take some time and the third piece of this is the corruption that has you know, that we have seen in the country over time. we really have to get control
8:47 pm
over that and begin to move that in the right direction. and i think when those things happen and certainly they are capable of happening, i think things will continue to move in the right direction. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> senator mccain. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you to the witnesses and their wonderful wives for their service to our country. we are very proud to have you certainly in such positions of responsibility. general austin and general rodriguez, general rodriguez he recently served in afghanistan as a commander of the international joint command with isaf and i will ask you both the same question. the president has announced 34,000 troops more than half of our force will return home by the end of the year. was this recommendation via the chairman of the joint chiefs?
8:48 pm
was this a recommendation by the military? >> senator, i don't know what the specific recommendation was. as i understand it -- >> no one has told you or general rodriguez? >> no sir i was not a part of that process. studies so you are excluded from knowing the recommendations of the military? given the new responsibilities you have? >> i was not included in that process. >> did either of you recommend this option? >> no sir. >> in your best professional military advice, is the withdrawal of 34,000 troops this year in line with the conditions on the ground as you saw? >> sir, i differ to the current commander. >> you really have no opinion whatsoever about whether we should withdraw 34,000, half are
8:49 pm
forced by the end of the year? is that correct? >> having not been a part of the process, i don't think that i should offer an opinion on this because i don't know everything that went into their calculation >> general roderic is do you feel the same way? >> yes sir. >> even though you recently served their? >> yes, sir. i've been gone for 18 months and things have changed tremendously. i can tell you that i was a part of the change in the strategy when we put the surge forward their and the concept of what we were looking to do strategically is continuing but his farce the specific situation, the country that warrants those decisions i am not current in that area serve.
8:50 pm
>> so, you wouldn't have any guess as to how many forces you believe are necessary to achieve our goals? general austin you were a commander in iraq. do you think iraq is more stable today than it was a year ago? >> sir i'm certainly troubled by some of the things -- the. >> you believe iraq today is more stable than it was a year ago? >> i think the stability is fragile and it is trending towards being more problematic as we watch what is happening with the current arab relationships and with the recent sunni protest and i think a lot of that is brought on by failure to solve some political issues. >> so, when we had a residual
8:51 pm
force there or not wouldn't matter? >> i think certainly if we could have continued to advise-and-assist the iraqis i think certainly it would have made them -- to continue to make them better. >> and you are present in the room when senator graham and i asked you after maliki asked us, what level of troops would we in the united states want to remain there in order to maintain that stability and do you remember your answer? you said, we are still working on it. remember that? >> yes sir. >> how long did they work on a general austin? >> sir i think we worked with the iraq leadership alawi up and to the point of time when they decided that they weren't going to be able to give us the protections we needed.
8:52 pm
>> because of course it was down to 3500. is that correct? >> no decision had been made at that point and time served. >> wasn't our number back to 3500 troops left behind? isn't that an accurate statement? it is written in michael gordon's book and its knowledge, is that? you were there. >> i presented a range of options. >> don't you know that the administration's position was that down to 3500? they didn't tell you that? >> soraya was nowhere for the number was and i don't recall specifically what the final option was being considered. >> you really don't remember specifically that it wasn't 3500? >> sir, in that range of options, again since we never close -- >> the chairman of the joint
8:53 pm
chiefs of staff testified that the number was down to 3500. general dempsey did before this committee and you didn't know that even though you were their? >> sir i didn't know what the number was. >> was 3500. >> it was a small number, yes sir. >> which is why it has been well-documented the iraqis decided to try to obtain immunity of over 3500 troops wasn't worth the effort. so do you believe iraq is headed in a positive or negative direction? >> sir again some of the things we we are seeing in iraq is very troubling with the air of guards tensions and the sunni protest. on the other hand -- >> the anti-over -- antiaircraft for bashar assad and the total estrangement between barzani and
8:54 pm
maliki, continued violence in kirkuk and other areas along the border, the vice president of iraq having to flee the country because there are murder charges brought against him? does that indicate to you that iraq is headed in the right direction? >> it does not serve. certainly there are some things that are very troubling. there are also some things that i think indicate that if they make the right decisions, they have a chance to move in the right direction. there are 3.3 million barrels of oil a day. they have been challenged several times in terms of security, but the security forces have really held and they are still loyal to the civilian leadership. and so there are a couple of things in their that do indicate that they begin to make the right decision politically that i think if they have a chance to
8:55 pm
move in the right direction but at this point they have not made those decisions and it is troubling. >> will general, your predecessor general mattis had a well-deserved reputation as speaking truth to power and testifying before this committee and a frank and honest opinion. we have our responsibilities and our responsibilities can only be carried out if we have frank and honest, as you were just asked if you would do at the beginning of the hearing, opinions and i'm disappointed by your testimony today that i have to draw these racks out when you and i both know they are facts so i hope the next time you're before this committee will be more forthcoming in your answers. we deserve it. we have our responsibilities as well as those that you will assume. thank you mr. chairman. >> senator blumenthal. >> thank you mr. chairman and i want to join in thanking both of you for your extraordinarily distinguished careers and your families for their service and
8:56 pm
sacrifice as well and wish you well in your new command in the next chapter of your military career. general austin we have a very informative and important discussion yesterday on the sexual assault with a number of my colleagues in the number of viewers and i would like to ask you and general rodriquez for your commitment that you will pursue and vigorously and aggressively the predatory crime and the fishes event of sexual assault and rape wherever it occurs under your command. >> sir you have my commitment that i will do so. >> i will, sir. >> thank you. let me asked by the way have each of you seen the documentary movie coax. >> i have seen at sir. >> i've seen at sir. >> will you make it your policy and practice that movie among other training aids received by
8:57 pm
all of the commanders? >> yes sir and as you may no sir in know sir in the army we have encouraged our leadership to use that as a training tool. >> i would like to ask you for more than just encouragement but to actually make it a matter of your general order or however you want to implement its within your command that it be used as a training device. yes, sir. it is required. >> thank you. let me ask you general austin focusing on afghanistan. i recently had the privilege of traveling to afghanistan with the number of my colleagues including senator mccain who led the trip and senator graham, senator ayotte and others and i want to focus for the moment on
8:58 pm
contracting their. we understand from the special investigator in afghanistan that 43 contractors in effect are doing business with the afghanis but they have not been processed by the army for debarment. partly because legal obstacles and others now and allow the united states, section 841 in particular, i would like your personal commitment is centcom leader that you will personally review these cases and use the authority you have to stop u.s. taxpayer money from being funneled to the taliban and that you will help us senator ayotte and i in particular work on this issue and help us to strengthen the law. >> sir you have got my commitment. >> thank you. very aptly you are -- your per
8:59 pm
pair testimony mentions the importance of unity of effort. that's your phrase and i think it's a good one on the battlefield and it's equally important at that unity of effort in stopping american taxpayer money from aiding the enemy in afghanistan where corruption has been unfortunately so rampant. one of the areas where i think it can be applied more effectively is in usaid and state department aide and i would like to have your commitment that he will help us in fact a improve it along that regard. >> thank you. i interest and you have made it as part of your commitment. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. let me ask you now general austin about syria. as part of that trip we visited
9:00 pm
the refugee camp in northern jordan adds safari and i must say very powerful and moving experience to see the conditions of the camp and the numbers of children, the challenges in providing education and helping to make it sanitary condition and i would like your commitment that you will do everything possible to provide a drastic and dramatic increase in humanitarian aid to the refugees in syria and elsewhere, also in jordan where there are those refugee camps. ..
9:01 pm
communications equipment, which is to collate to the opposition forces in the area? >> sir, not being in the cei, you know, my vantage point is that as many people on the outside but can't at the specifics petabyte to know about the opposition and what is in the realm of the possibility. what is in the realm of the possibility. if confirmed, i think the
9:02 pm
ability to go in and assess to see, you know, what's possible and if there are things possible, what options do we have a very concrete and informed recommendation at this point. >> i hope you will share the sense of urgency many of us feel about the situation and about the predicament, many of those courageous buyers who are opposing their murderous and barbaric regime that the assad government has become. i would invite you, in fact i would urge you to be sent to this committee a recommendation as soon as possible because we feel the sense of urgency and work can be done militarily to
9:03 pm
deprive aside forces on the ground that he's using simply to slaughter the citizens of the country. >> yes, sir. >> thank you, mr. chair. my time is expired, but i thinks to each of you for extraordinary service in the past and future in it into families. thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator ayotte. >> thank you, mr. chairman. at what you think general ostend and rodriguez and their families for service to our countries are very much appreciate your being here. i want to follow to a senator blumenthal discussed on 841. as you recall, general brown and i have worked on the provision that is given some authority and
9:04 pm
i want to join with senator bloom in five said, that i look forward to working with him and look forward to your commitment to make sure we give you all the tools they need, 30 expending tools to the state department to cut off funds that go to our enemies. i appreciate your commitment on not and look forward to working with senator bloom in all of them both of you to make sure that happens. general austin come the imagined you'd been through the process before of deciding what a follow-on force to be in us in the context of iraq, is that right quick >> that is correct, ma'am. >> we were in a rackmount was a recommendation on the troop levels that should remain, assuming we could negotiate a forces agreement? >> i presented a range of options to the leadership.
9:05 pm
i provided that recommendation and i've never made public what my recommendations were. >> i provided back to the president confidence and have not made that public it would not like to make the public. >> let me ask you this, general, the recommendations he provided in the number ended up with senator mccain just has to come up with that number significantly below what you recommended? >> u.s., ma'am. >> thank you. >> u.s.a. to senator mccain did not disappoint not been involved in the decisions on the trooper struck by the follow-on force for 2014, as i write? have you spoken to general alan r. dunford about this topic? about what the recommendations are? >> no, i have not.
9:06 pm
the president announced the other day there was a port in the "washington post" that general dunford who i'm sure you have great respect for her as well as general alan, that they have been seeking a reduction no more than 25,000 troops during that same period and that would have been significantly and certainly the president's recommendation is much higher, what is the price you? have you followed any of the public reporting on this? >> i have read some of what is and the media, but my experience it doesn't have the complete -- >> well, let me follow. military officials on background seen pulling out 34,000 weeks is
9:07 pm
dangerously low on military personnel when the fledgling afghan army and police support is going to send a clear signal to afghanistan is going wobbly. i am surprised i saw that she is not had conversations given your taking over on sand, general allen or general dunford at this important point, but i would ask you, if we are in a position where the withdrawal process in a situation where we are going to have dangerous low on military personnel, i would expect you to come forward to this committee when asked and tell us your professional opinion as to what we should be doing. we do that? >> i will do that, man. as you know, there's a number of things the commander considers as he makes his recommendation, the tasks he's presented with
9:08 pm
any sky to accomplish his assessment of the environment to skype to work and come any significant transitions, things like an election, the fading sees any sky to go through and all of that goes into his calculus to provide a range of options in terms of recommendations they are. i say leadership looks at it, i just don't have any idea of what exactly went into that specific calculus. >> general austin, i went to a deployment on sunday new hampshire a guard unit going to khost province in afghanistan and one of the worries i have is the numbers being floated by the administration, don't like it to a point where if we don't have sufficient numbers there, we have to worry about protection of our forces?
9:09 pm
>> yes, ma'am. that is one of the things commanders not taken to consideration whether they'll be able to provide for their troops as they conduct operations in the area. depending on what the specific mission sire, they'll be asked to do and how much of it they'll be asked to do, when you factor in force protection and other things, that really these with the commander thinks his requirements other. and again, typically he will present a range of options. >> well, i understand, this certainly we need to take into account iraq troops they are any forget to remember that is so low that we can protect our own troops, i'm going to be very concerned about that. i will expect you are provision. so if one understands, why does it matter?
9:10 pm
by the sacred afghanistan matter? >> it's clearly important to the region, important to the united states of america. we like to see this country continue to move forward. would like to see the political system began to grow. i think it's the right things happen, it will certainly help us with the relationship with pakistan and some other things. it is important for the region. it's also clearly important for the country of afghanistan and nato and the united states of america. >> general rodrigues, i would like your opinion to why this matters in detection of our country, our interests and we sacrifice so much there and obviously it is important we
9:11 pm
understand why does the stable afghanistan, the outcome matter? >> a stable afghanistan means that is one of the things that was the objective that never became a haven for al qaeda so it could attack those u.s. homeland come to u.s. interests and allies worldwide. >> thank you. i'll have follow up questions for both of you. >> thank you, senator. senator reid. >> thank you for your service to the army and the nation and i can't think of to our dedicated and experienced is you've been assigned. but the third idea come your major general in afghanistan attempt not to vision. you were three-star in iraq and the multinational forces. you are maybe one of the few
9:12 pm
going where you've commanded every officer level, is that correct? >> that's correct. i do think we could find a new and better acclimated to the challenges and there are quite a few throughout the region. one of the issues touched upon is iraq. are the problems they are more political in nature or more in military capacity? what we've seen is a chaotic put up a situation demonstrations, sectarian tensions, that the iraqi security forces perform reasonably well given the trading and investment we've made. is that a fair assessment? >> from my perspective that's a fair assessment. security forces have done reasonably well. >> and going forward, the challenges seem to be more
9:13 pm
political in any type of military threat from the outside or an uncontrollable threat comments at a fair assessment, to? >> yes, sir. >> one of the key fact or zen roles he plays not just making sure they're well prepared, well organized and well deployed, it is communicating explicitly and implicitly leaders of different countries and i can think of several. one is pakistan and one is egypt because of our relationship to the military's. do you have any perspective now with respect to your likely engagement with general kai ani and pakistan and the egyptian army? >> yes, sir. i look forward to developing a good working relationship with general kai yanni and the
9:14 pm
leadership, military leadership in pakistan. it is essential to our overall relationship and they will be hopeful and i strained to move to move forward with what we are doing in afghanistan. egypt as you know, we have long enjoyed a great melt snow relationship has been helpful to us. and so, we'll continue to build upon that going into the future. >> let me ask you another question and that is with respect to our forces in afghanistan. i space chief of the current role, it would be highly unusual you would be participating in deliberations of strategy going forward in afghanistan or any other area of operation. is that fair to say? >> is fair to say. >> the planning was done appropriately for central
9:15 pm
command, beginning with general allen and secretary of defense saw secretary of defense office, not the bases thought this to the president for the final decision yet decimates down? >> that's correct. >> your collaboration has been increased if you're concerned, but at that point you will be having an opportunity to work with general dunford and commanders for a period of several months. >> that's correct. it will give me an opportunity to engage leadership on the ground, to get a clear understanding of the status centcom and also a giant status in terms of all of the elements that have gone into this, which is, as you know, typically a pretty tightly controlled process and rightfully so. >> thank you are a match.
9:16 pm
general rodriguez coming thank you also service. you are taking over region which is your newest unified command, one that is facing new challenges have four or five years ago were not relevant. i think it is appropriate and fitting your best city made by side as it happens have certain effects in your permit in certain effects throughout general austin's command. can you give us your sense now, you have a day-to-day basis when engaged in deliberate planning -- can you give us your sense of what the threat daughter and africom and how well-positioned africom is. >> the press and africom reliever bob rudd three major areas, one being al qaeda and the islamic mockery of, which is where the french operations and the united states is ongoing. also al-shabaab in somalia a
9:17 pm
book for her rom and also the ally ray has discussed earlier here. visit the major threats to stability militarily, but of course they have significant other wants and government as well as health issues. >> i think you've touched on something that again is a critical issue that cuts across government capacity to provide basic service, the ability of governments to function is not as, at least to respond to the true nature of the people. one of the issues we talked about is that we have had military training operations that have gone in over the last several years into african countries with mixed results. do you have any specific sort of ideas about how you would improve the military training teams that will be a major aspect of your operational
9:18 pm
capacity? >> yes, sir. if confirmed to look at that very, very hard. general ham has dated some of the training has been focused on tactical and technical and some of the things we do not emphasize with the values of the army as well as the role of the military democracy. those are some of the things he started work on an alleged that very carefully if confirmed in assessment and go forward in the best way possible. >> my time is expired, but there's very few people who served the army nation with your courage and distinction and your dedication to the soldiers. for that, thank you. >> sent under fisher. >> thank you, senator king. i thank you for your service to this country and i would also like to thank you and the service people you represent and their families for their service to this country as well. if i may, i would like to
9:19 pm
continue in the "washington post" article that came out recently. it did suggest the pentagon is pushing the pentagon that would only keep 8000 troops in afghanistan. i know that general austin, you weren't a part of the process so far, but can you support a plan that was scheduled withdraws troops in advance? you know, we're looking at withdraws troops in afghanistan and according to this article from a passing down to 1000 within a short period of time, i have questions if we can even maintain our mission, let alone complete the mission. how can you make decisions on troop withdraw when sec previously, so much depends on the ground, what the government
9:20 pm
is doing, what variability eyes up to that point. how would you approach a proposal like that? >> i certainly would first really work hard to make sure i fully understood with the leadership wanted to get done moving into the future. certainly my advice is the commander on the ground or commander central command would provide my advice based upon breaking the security forces are and the conditions in theater and what i think we need to do to move forward to make sure we maintain the gains that we've achieved. but i think so much is tied to what it is, what policy objectives the leadership wants to accomplish and based upon
9:21 pm
that, you know, i've outlined the forces required. i would consider the fact that there is a nato complement to whatever forces are going to have and again it really depends on what level were advising and assisting the security forces and how long we need access to do that. so as i'm concerned, those are things that i will work with general dunford on, look at very closely early on. and i know leadership is still in the process of making decisions on what is going to look like post-2014. >> do you think it is useful to put those numbers out there so far in advance? is very military reason it's useful to put those numbers out
9:22 pm
there? >> i don't know. i do know we are part of a coalition effort and i do know that the coalition really is trying -- members of the coalition are trying to determine but their commitment is going to be going forward and they would like as much predictability as possible. >> i appreciated senator reed's question that he asked general rodriguez. how would you prioritize, general austin, and the threats in your future command? what do you see those as being? >> well, it's a very complex and dynamic region, volatile region. we see a number of being better kind of working together to feel that instability. you see sectarian strife in a number of places.
9:23 pm
you see governments that are former autocratic governments that are either failed or failing, creating further instability. city instability is an issue they are. and again, they are certainly concerned about the iranian aggression in the region, which adds to the complexity they are. and of course, there's this specific issue at syria and continuing work we've got to do in afghanistan as well. same number of of things added together. also, there is a persistent bad from elements like al qaeda and al qaeda in the arabian peninsula that has the ability to generate a threat to the homeland. so that is very, very important.
9:24 pm
>> are we going to be able to meet those with the troops that are projected to be there? are we going to accomplish animation? we've had so many families in this country sacrifice. is it going to be worth it to that? i know you do this every day. how do you look at family is and say to time, we are going to pull out, maybe at levels they think might be dangerously low as i am getting information on this. how are you able to do that? when do we reach a hollow force, with the men in women we send in harms way are no longer protect it? >> we are going to do everything that the leadership will continue to do within our power to make sure that our troops are introduced into a dangerous
9:25 pm
situation or in combat that they are ready. and so whatever we have to do to prioritize resources make sure we support the folks that are doing the hard work of the country, we are going to continue to do that. services have been clear about the fact they will support our troops that are in combat. as we look at, you know, shrinking topline budget stayer, the shrinking topline of the budget is going to make it more challenging for us to have forces that are ready to address emerging contingencies. and so, that's my concern going into the future. >> i would ask both of you gentlemen for your commitment to this committee and to me that he will always be honest and let us know that. >> you have my commitment. >> thank you so much.
9:26 pm
again, thank you for your dedication and service to us. thank you. >> thank you, welcome. i echo the comments made by my colleagues of appreciations for your service and stellar credentials. and given confidence by the fact you work so closely in the past because i think the centcom, africom challenges have enough a lot of overlap and that should give us confidence as well. i think i'll stay with general rodriguez a few questions. africom has an unusual mission. your deputy commander is the state department official and it is a heavily focused on partnerships with other agencies and the training -- and that other governments. i'd like to talk about that unusual nature and your own background as if they seek to alter the environment.
9:27 pm
>> as you said, is to find a bit differently than combatant commands and has more agency people assigned to head orders may think all of that is a great benefit to the organization who stretches and reaches across the agency in an effort that is required to be done that way in that interagency effort. in the building partner capacity piece, as all of our operations there really is a one to general austin is talking about is helping to build the capacity of the nation to protect itself and provides stability for itself. so we worked hard over the years and we both had significant experience trying to build iraqi security forces as well as active dirty forces to do it themselves and also to work also to work with the multinational partners to also ensure they are part of the solution, both in
9:28 pm
our nato allies and allies throughout the world as well as the host nation countries. i look forward to continue that to help africans compare themselves to take care of themselves. >> some of the most challenging attacks on our history, then to two hearings now on the benghazi attack, one a foreign relations hearing and what this committee and still have some confusion about security provided to a diplomatic personnel around the world. and the benghazi situation we were dealing with the terry security through the merging security guards and state department personnel, but also to local militias, one unarmed, one apparently uncensored a strike or slow down wages and benefits. i just like to hear you talk
9:29 pm
about the embassy security recognized in the state takes the comment that the embassy security challenges and africom and how that approach them as a commander. >> thanks, senator. the challenges he discussed her about the timing distance factors, so if confirmed, i will look closely at the department of state to understand and have the best situational understanding we can have so we have thrived and morning so we understand the warnings that are most so they can respond appropriately. we also have to prioritize access for the things we don't know to ensure it is a joint agency as well as the multinational process to get the best situational understanding that we can't. the second thing is of course in collaboration with the state department to make sure the state department understands our response and what we can do to
9:30 pm
make the best decisions i recommend haitians to the leadership. lastly i see no response forces have increased in the aftermath of the benghazi attack and the lessons were learned. so there's now a new commanders and extremist voters and we have more forces as well as a special tab set is also in djibouti right now and in another month would be a force in the army who is allocated to hope that these challenges. >> general osten, to return to a puppy to about briefly, in your advance policy questions, you state maintaining a credible naval force that combat powers is essential to demonstrating a commitment to regional partners. we've had discussion just this week about the aftermath to
9:31 pm
defer deployment to the uss truman. focusing on that and sequester, from your perspective, what is the impact of the reduced naval presence that will complicate their ability to carry out her mission? >> i think it well. certainly without those forces have been outlined is what he needs to accomplish the goals and object data sydney played out. that has been supported by the joint chiefs and resourced by the office of the secretary of defense. this is gone three pretty deliberate process to allocate those resources and forces. when he doesn't have this available when the commander doesn't have them available, again it began to take away flexibility to address emerging
9:32 pm
situation. wants to reduce the presence in the region, you could very world's oil the wrong things to adversaries and again, we'll want the commander and i certainly want to have come if confirmed, two of his many options available as possible to address the current issue nation and any emerging situations. or crises. >> me ask you this. sending the wrong message to allies are adversaries, what about the message from your own experience inside the organization as you deal with your officers and enlisted, you know, what is the best as they continually watch congress run up against one kind of fiscal crisis after the next pic is no certainty to the military about its resource capacity?
9:33 pm
>> a concert might be disheartening if we have things that were trying to accomplish. we know we need resources and it's difficult to get those resources. having said that, it is the spirit of our military to try to find a way to be successful. you have to make enough up all possible with the things they need to be successful. >> thank you very much to both of you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i understand we are going to have to balance. if you let me know when seven minutes is up, have a few more questions. >> we will move right into the second round. >> this is one of the most important hearings we've had in probably a very long time and that is saying a lot given the hearings we've had in recent
9:34 pm
time. i know you well, appreciate our families and general osten, here is my dilemma. i'm not so sure, and i maybe wrong but she cannot tell us what she recommended about troop levels. i have to think about that. i don't know if you have the right to do that quite frankly. i note he told me. you told me on the tarmac in baghdad that we needed somewhere between 18 and 20,000. i said that may be more than the market can bear. he said that the numbers and i note your recommendations were somewhere in the mid-15,000, 16,000. i think the bottom line for most people was 10 and i've got an exchange between me and general dempsey about how the numbers
9:35 pm
i'm from 19,000 on the way down to five and eventually zero. so i'd like to put in the record the exchange i had with chairman dempsey about the ever-changing numbers in iraq and the point, mr. chairman, was the iraqis were not saved 18 is too many, 15 with too many. that wasn't the exchange. did prime minister maliki ever tell you that 18,000 were too many quick >> no, sir. >> this is a secretary -- excuse me, chairman dempsey said. not because the commanders are saying overshot. political people were saying that's too many new kept coming down and attend smu said that's the lowest i can go. the cascading effects are not the iraqi saying we can't handle that many troops. it is that i wrote white house and white house and they have
9:36 pm
agreed to do this, by the way, was saying we just don't agree with the commanders recommendation. do you remember that exchange between me and prime minister maliki in 92011? he turned to me and said boras to go to iraq, myself, senator lieberman and senator mccain to see if they could push iraqis to get legal protections for our troops. i wouldn't have without a status force agreement that he was right to insist on that. when he said how many are you going to recommend, i turn to you and ambassador jeffrey sani said they believe we are still working on that. she recalled a conversation? >> idea. i was a bit astonished because it's not the general osten didn't know what he needed. she said nobody would tell them what they were going to approve. i just want to be clear that general osten had a firm view
9:37 pm
that we needed 18 to 20 city first said. he said he may be marked in the political market can bear because i'm not insensitive back home. you can't paint pen to paper and i know you were making the best recommendations u.k. you put the numbers to paper and at the end of the day, we have not. i want to put into the record a load of articles about iraq, blood for oil, iraq's return to bloodshed, why kurds versus arabs could be iraq's next civil war. be warned, americans withdraw from iraq heralds a world of instability. at that permission to put all these articles into the record. thank you, mr. chairman. i just want everyone to know, general osten thought long and
9:38 pm
hard about a residual force. do you remember when you're first getting the job, we had an exchange rates had in football terms, how would she put us other situation in june of 2010. he said i did think were on the 10-yard line and the next 18 months will rate term in whether he could work if the iraqis the opportunity to get to go around beyond 2011. we're having a new quarterback. he said sir, i will take the ball. you agreed with me that we are inside the 10, that we needed a residual force. you talked about the arab kurd conflict you showed me in no uncertain terms one of the points in iraq to secure cook,
9:39 pm
do you remember that? do you remember the lines brigade concept where you had iraqi security forces? unit the brigade and you had u.s. forces working as a team. i think i'd have been your idea. it was working so well. basically paramilitary forces that are kurd and now you see a shooting war about to iraq and the traditional iraqi security forces. he told me between 5000 people between the article and 40 boundary line, but to keep tensions. >> dear member telling me we were blind inciter insult away from these guys shooting each other and reach of a file at first keep low? >> is my cessna commissary. what you see now is the blood for all us a story last week
9:40 pm
about how close they come to firing at each other over the oil problems. so now, i want to introduce into the record the exchange i had the general dempsey and general osten in 2010 and 11 about what happened in iraq. >> without objection. >> now let's move to afghanistan. that's not my intent, but i think it's only fair to the committee that you talk to general allen. pick up the phone, i know he families. you reach one of the finest officers to the other served with. you all have been out this for a very long time, all of you and i just can't thank you enough in attendance about to expire, so we'll do a second round. you can give this to me in writing. i want you to talk to general
9:41 pm
allen about his recommendations via -- i know exactly the bottom line. i know senator ayotte mrs. bottom line of what to find out because they really do believe we have a right to know that they recommend as much as the commander-in-chief because we fund wars. this idea you can tell us something i want to explore and would she please go to general allen and get briefed on his recommendations, bottom line, topline in re to me as to whether or not you think their sound before we go. this could be done relatively quick. thank you. >> i just want to point out that the questions that would assist the answered at the beginning, indicated they would provide
9:42 pm
answers unless they had a good recent consultation not to provide them. some of general osten dancers have been along that scheme. to fund the construction and he will come back to the committee. >> i think we have a right to get this, but i don't want to put the gentleman in a bad spot. >> either will get the answer a good-faith description for for what you believe certain conversation. over 32nd round. i'll go to senator ayotte. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i share senator graham's request unobvious they would like to understand if you can provide that information like that is because that is something important for the committee to take up because we had to make conditions on resources that are we have an oversight function but i very much respect commander-in-chief because this is a very important issue. we were on the same trip to
9:43 pm
afghanistan and having seen conditions on the ground and into a recent deployment ceremony, i want to make sure when our guys are there that we've got enough people to protect the guys and gals on the ground. so i appreciate that very much. i have a question for general rodriguez. can you help me understand what's happening in eastern libya right now with the gadhafi arms cachet that was not considered after the nato activity and libya and what is happening, where are they going to what efforts are we making to secure the signs? >> yes, ma'am. we had significant arms cachet throughout the libya and many of them which is the most on both stable part in the intelligence community has assessed those continued to move.
9:44 pm
many have moved southwest towards the northern mali issue has increased the islamic mcgrath. the united states and allies have received several issues to try to stand up for. most of them are in training and equipping efforts for both the libyan army as well as libyan border control people who are benefits of some of the training we are doing. and the notes to build relationships and the court nation were doing are all focused to get this under control and limit the ability of that to continue to migrate away from libya and into the hands of terrorists. >> just so we understand, we also went to each other. the arms are going into syria. there also going into other places where they're getting in
9:45 pm
the wrong hands and that continues as we said here today. >> yes, ma'am. it's not only towards africa, man. >> we have those notes will relation semitone have a condition where the libyan government is actually stopping the transfer is right now to the people. >> eastern libya is the most destabilize place. there's no state control of any militias and that's the challenge the government is done with right now. >> would need to get much tougher. this is a dangerous situation and there have been reports of some of these may include campouts. is that correct? >> yes, that is correct. certainly we need to take greater action on this because these arms are very dangerous. they're getting into the hands of terrorists and so i look forward to supporting you and
9:46 pm
the administration to take whatever steps need to be taken to make sure that happens. i would also point that i believe this is one of the reasons where, when they think about the concept of a light footprint and we are engaged in an area, but the science should've been secured following our baldness so we worked in a situation where we are chasing them around, tried to get them from dangerous individuals who were then using it to attack us and our allies. >> yes, ma'am. >> general trend to come the general rodriguez, agree with me the number of troops in any theater is not an end, but it needs to accomplish a defined mission? >> yes, sir. >> if you're each confirming positions, do you agree you will at any time come if you think the number of troops assigned are the number of troops are dealing with is not sufficient to accomplish the end you were
9:47 pm
charged with the competition, that you'll share that concern under appropriate channels with your colleagues and superiors? >> i will. >> i will. >> senator graham. >> if we told both of you which of the soldiers in afghanistan can he would fight to the end, with new? >> at the resort to be done, sir -- >> which you also tell us, we have a high opinion of ourselves, for the chance of success would be pretty low. >> that's correct. >> do you agree the last card to play in afghanistan in terms of presence of closing the deal. this is an important decision to make. >> yes, i would. >> i appreciate that very much. you are absolutely right. general san, as iran watching what were doing in the region?
9:48 pm
>> do agree with that, general rodriguez? >> so if syria is deteriorating and we seem to be beating from behind, if iraq is deteriorating and we pick a number in afghanistan that makes it a high failure with sand the wrong signals to the ukrainians if what i say is true? >> i would agree with that. >> if you had a recommendation of 8000 troops in 2014, the 2017th, we would be bound to 1000, don't you think the enemy would focus on the 1000, and not the 8000? >> they would. >> the road focus on the phone number, not the high number.
9:49 pm
>> i do want to say this to the administration. i know the war is unpopular. i think we can be successful in afghanistan. the key security forces, but we have to have capabilities to keep them moving forward and i note the number general allen tait. data will not stay if we have a dozen troops. you agree with that? .donation would get too irate. >> that is my assessment. >> i'll wrap this up by saying i want to make some other questions in writing. they think we are at a pivotal moment in the war in afghanistan that nato is not going to say unless we show a willingness to show beyond kabul itself and the enemy will look at the bottom number, not the top number. but if the president will follow recommendations and he's the
9:50 pm
president, not me. he has every right to pick the number. as a member of the opposition party has seven new cares about this, i will stand with him a bunch my objections. if they leave as low as nine or 10,000, i will stand with them and keep funding the afghan army, that i want this to turn out well. i have a know it won't be popular at home, but it's the right thing to do. i want the administration to now they have every right to make this decision, but if they over brulé for us it cannot be successful, i cannot go to continue and mr. chairman, i can't think of a worse outcome for america than for us to lose in afghanistan after he dies in
9:51 pm
years of fighting, bleeding hundreds of billions of dollars to place were attacked from. if we don't get this residual force right to continue the momentum, afghanistan will fall apart quicker than iraq and all will break out. thank you very much. >> senator a.i. >> general rodriguez, which you consider boca harrumph a terrorist generation? >> committed some macs associate terrorism. that is a policy that has to be made and i make my recommendations on whether it gets tough classified. >> woodlake the attack against the united nations headquarters.
9:52 pm
i certainly appreciate that. what happened in the tech center consulate in benghazi, from your assessment and he'll be taking up that area of responsibility and you and i have talked about it. what are some of the lessons learned from that? >> ma'am, lessons learned that those dod and department of state are taken on as the gaps they are an intelligence and then provide the sufficient indication for us to be able to respond properly. security decisions that get made have to be well-informed by the department of defense and the response force is available to the combatant commanders seem to be looked at inappropriate for the situations out there throughout the region. >> write nice talked about four saves that we would have to
9:53 pm
previously have in place. how is that response time when you think about it because we're not going to be in djibouti gratiano and thinking about the air assets, but we have anything to respond, how would we respond to it? >> i will put places and requirements on all have to make sound decisions based across a situation across the combatant command's area on where to put those. the best we can do is to make sure everybody understands to make decisions on where to keep people and were not to keep people. >> i look forward as he confirmed to work with you on that. that is a challenge we face in that area and particularly with the arm still flowing in that area that are very dangerous to a whole host of areas and other
9:54 pm
organizations. >> yes, ma'am. >> to return to chairman levin. >> thank you very much. appreciate your taking over the gavel this morning. just a few questions. i was trying to ask. general austen, are they on track to assume greater responsibility for spring? >> my judgment is based upon interaction with the commanders in the field. just recently in afghanistan at thanksgiving holiday nsa went around the country, the
9:55 pm
commanders i talked to felt that the afghans have significant capability and were in the lead throughout the country. they were hopeful and very positive about where they were in very hopeful that things are continuing in the right direction. based upon that assessment, i think the afghans will be capable of taking the lead in the prescribed timeline. >> with senator jack reid and i traveled to afghanistan in january, we heard from military commanders said the afghan national security forces are in the lead already in the vast majority in the very challenging regional command east that afghan security forces were conduct in operations by themselves and 87%.
9:56 pm
have you heard that figure and if not, would that not be a fact? >> it is reassuring. i talked to brigade commanders and all so the division commander and they were positive about the performance of security force. >> that is the subject, which i've gotten into very, very repeatedly and senator graham and i have worked together to make the same point that has to do to future size size of afghan security forces. the security forces by 2014 from 252,000 down to approximately
9:57 pm
230,000. i believe it sends the wrong signal to the afghans to do that. they're looking for reassurance that the united states and allies are committed to in during relationship with afghanistan. we wrote the president began last year, senator graham, senator mccain, senator lieberman and myself to convey that point. at a time when we are trying down our troops, it is the wrong message to be drawing down for suggesting that draw down of afghan forces from their current level to a significantly lower. i'm wondering whether you feel we should keep the afghan security forces at the 352,000 beyond 2014. >> keeping the larger size force
9:58 pm
but certainly as you point out, reassure the afghans. but also reassured her had no allies we remain committed. a larger force, afghan force would help to hedge against any future taliban mischief and we expect you could reasonably expect that an enemy that's been that determined, that agile, will very soon after retranslation try to test the afghan security forces. further, that provides the process is to mature a bit, so i think because of that, it seems to me the larger force is a benefit. >> general rodriguez, this has to do in extremis force that is
9:59 pm
desirable another contingency response force is would be useful to put the african commander and a position to contingencies such as we saw it in benghazi. if you've not been asked that question, tell us what they would look for ways to find greater capability to provide forces beyond what they currently are and where in the case of the benghazi matter. >> yes, senator senator i would end if confirmed, that will be one of the top priorities i have and will report to the committee and dave made significant improvements that we have to continue to do that. >> thank you, both. i want to thank senator king. it's very much appreciated.
10:00 pm
>> thank you, sir. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
10:01 pm
.. live coverage starting at 9:00 afm eastern on c-span2. >> i think the women themselves in many cases were interested in politics. but had no vehicle to express that in their own lives. so they were attracted to men
10:02 pm
who were going to become politically active or were already politically active. >> each of them, i find intrigue ing probably half of them in particular precisely because they are so obscure historically. i think half of the women probably would be almost totally unrecognizable to most men and women on the street. >> this president's day c-span premiering the first season of first ladies. from martha washington to michelle obama. in a first of the kind on television.
10:03 pm
today in a 58-40 cloture voted. they blocked chuck hagel being the sex -- secretary of defense. next the hour long debate on the nomination. they said they will not vote for cloture today, i think it's too bad. there's been more than enough time to read the additional speeches that have been coming in. the argument raced beyond that i know has do with the payment an equity fund that was received has been fully explained. as a highly reputable fund that senator hagel was an adviser to like many other reputable
10:04 pm
people. i think the continuation what amounts to filibuster is too bad when there's a secretary of defense who is leafing to go back to california. we need to have our new secretary of defense in place given the circumstances in this world. we have a budget crisis in this country, our scwesser is confronting us. that's sequester will have a damaging effect on the deference department, on the men and women in uniform. and on the programs, the equipment, the training that they need to be ready for any kind of contingency. so the delay in having a vote on cloture, to me is a mistake. we out ought to improve the ending of the debate today so we can get on with the conformation vote which will be a majority vote. after cloture vote and debate is ended in it body, the final passage of a bill or the vote on
10:05 pm
the nominee is a majority vote. not 60 votes. so i'm hoping there will be 60 votes today so we can get on with the approval of this nominee. hopefully. shortly thereafter and fill the spot, which is sitting there waiting to be filled. we have north korea attacking -- not attacking but exploiting a nuclear device. we have the war in afghanistan. we need a secretary of defense in place. so i hope there's not a delay following the vote today. i hope we can do cloture because i think there's been more than adequate time. there's been time on the floor when we hour after hour go by who seeks to be recognized to speak. so i hope that if the anonymous consent proposal is agreed to, that there will be 60 votes today. if not there is no alternative but to have the vote when we
10:06 pm
come back. that the point, we would look forward to the support at least on cloture of the three senators that have spoken. our friends on the other side of the aisle. and that's the best question hope for. that's my hope i will not object because of that. >> reserve the right to object. ly not object. >> just respond to my friend and he's my dear friend, i didn't et get the sense of majority of democrats. secretary of defense was vacant at that time as well. so this is not the first time in history that a secretary of defense is position has been vacant. again, i hope we can get this resofted and move forward and i think that senator from michigan, my friend understands that we can get this issue
10:07 pm
resolved on the day that we return from the recess, essential there's -- certainly i believe sufficient votes to invoke cloture at that time. >> ma'am president. >> senator of michigan. >> for a minute and he's my dear friend. i don't believe that senator tower was filibuster. there was a delay in getting to the vote. i don't believe -- i don't believe there was a filibuster of a secretary of defense nominee at the time. many secretary of the defense have been approved in a matter of i believe in dais just the way senator kerry was approved in a matter of days. the circumstances is different from nominee to nominee. i will not object based on the statement which we heard today from my friend on the other side of the aisle. >> senator from arizona. i enjoy exchanging with my
10:08 pm
friend, chairman. but the fact is as the chairman knows, it was delayed and delayed and delayed. a new allegation came in, it was delayed. a new allegation came in. it was delayed. all of those allegations turned out to be false. but won't rewrite history anymore dpoapt say it was one of the more shameful chapter in my view of the history of the united states senate. again i thank him. i'm confidence that is there objection? without objection. >> how much time will be now on either side? >> thirty minutes minutes on either side. i would like to yield myself ten minutes. >> without objection.
10:09 pm
>> of all the years i have known senator hagel, i known him to be a honorable man and patriot and overseas on the field of battle. he served his country faithfully and distinction. we have our differences, senator hagel was remains my friend. there was a time when senator hagel and i saw the world in america's role in it in much the same way. the -- torn apart with mas toesty and genocide, senator hagel and i stood together with bob dole and joe lieberman in may of 1999, senator hagel said on the very floor why the united states should intervene military in closet vow vow -- also understand there are things worth going war for. there are things worth dying for. there are people being
10:10 pm
slaughtered in a considered rate. and genocide is occurring and people being driven from their homes on and on. what do we do know -- and he went on to say the history has surely taught us what you defer the tough decisions and let the butchers consider and the tyrants and dictators continue it gets worse. it has gotten worse i agreed with the statement at the time and i do. i think it applies with greater or equal force toker ya today. i'm not sure they believe that anymore. when americans were attacked on 9/11, senator hagel and i urged a strong american response to -- beginning in afghanistan. two years later president bush decided the united states may have to use force against saddam
10:11 pm
hussein in iraq and senator hagel and i voted to use the force in iraq. we were often together in the criticism of the bush administration's conduct of the war in iraq. we both were disturbed by the a-- donald rumsfeld age responded the clear fact that we were losing the war in iraq on the ground. in august of 2003, i urge president bush to send more troops. senator from south carolina and i called for the resignation of the secretary of defense, and we wanted to change our strategy replace military and civilian leaders failing in the responsibility. senator hagel, on the other hand, felt we should cut our losses and withdrawal from iraq. he has taken policy positions that i believe family in to question the quality of his professional judgment on issues critical to national defense.
10:12 pm
i'm concerned senator hagel is ill suited to lead the two and a half million uniform members of the armed services and ensure the sound management of an agency that has an annual budget equal to the 17th largest economy in the world. of all of the responsibility of government, none is more fundamental than provide forking the nation's defense. we must have the most kved and abled person for the position and having carefully reviewed his long public record, i find his nomination wanting. senator hagel's appearance before the armed service committee failed to -- during the hearing. he repeatedly refused to give an assessment of the previous statements on issues like the troop surge in iraq. the identification for the terrorist organizations and the past rhetoric about our allies. response to the questions he signed history the task of judging the merit of his past judgment statements and
10:13 pm
positions, or simply said, quote, if i had an opportunity to edit that, like many things i've said, i would. i would like to change back the words in the meeting. history isn't rickly to affirm history -- increase forces in order wage a counterinsurgency in iraq a decision that helped prevent on losing that war, what he said was most dangerous foreign policy blunder since vietnam. it's obvious now that statement was history locally unemployed, uninformed and on surd. for the satisfaction i told you so moment but to determine if secretary hagel, senator hagel recognized he was inner roar. and more importantly if that recognition informs the judgment today. i want to know if he learned from the mistakes.
10:14 pm
unfortunately i'm not confident he has. after two weeks of reviewing his record, my concerns about whether senator hague is ready to serve of secretary of deafen is not diminished. nothing in his background candidates that he would effectively manage the department of defense. in today's unprecedented environment fiscal uncertainty. ensuring that defense investment decisions effect ang agency is massive and unwielding as the department of deference proven frack record of successfully managerring large connell pletion organization. he has no experience. there are those who seek to cut waste fraud and abuse. senator hagel seeks something else entirely. to cut military capability and
10:15 pm
service tools to ensure our continued engagement throughout the world in support of america's interest in those of our allies. in the eyes of the president senator hagel, however, apparently the right man overseeing the continuing draw down of the armed services. over the past four years, the administration has pursued a program of defense reduction that exceeds those expected of a normal post war drawdown. cuts that have begun to directly undermine u.s. local military power. last week secretary panetta said people would standby and deliberately hurt this country in terms of our national deference by letting sequestration take place. my doubts about senator hagel's suitability extend beyond his management of defense budgetary resources. the north korea recently tested another nuclear weapon.
10:16 pm
iraq is unralphing. the iranian rejected briden's proposal. one on one talks concerning nuclear weapons, libya, mali, tunisia and egypt are in various states of unrest which we have no strategy. we are the most unsettled period since the end of the cold war. i have serious concerns as to the quality of senator hagel's professional judgment in the acuity of his views on critical areas of national security including security in the east asia and the middle east. his record on iraq is particularly troubling. as i alluded a moment ago in 2002 he voted to authorize the use of force against iraq. by 2006, the support for the war diminished after republican losses in the 2006 midterm elections. he wrote an opinion piece for "the washington post" under the title "leaving iraq honorable
10:17 pm
"foreforeshadowing. and president bush announced the decision to surge troops in 2007, senator hagel actively campaigned against it. he voted in february of 2007, in favor of a bill expressing opposition to the surge and in favor of measures to troops from iraq and equally bad policy. he wrote in the 2008 memoir, america our next chapter in historically show that the legislative efforts to oppose the surge correctly framed the political matters and issue at the time. carl levin said in 2009, in considering whether or not the troops in iraq, i think historically will show that president bush reached the right decision. senator hagel advocating the complete withdrawal of forces from iraq by 2007 rather than
10:18 pm
negotiating an agreement for an enduring presence of u.s. forces. the president ultimately did exactly what senator hagel recommended. reportedly against the advice of military leaders, response written questions on the matter senator hagel again stated that the complete withdrawal of u.s. troops over iraq was the right call and assertive and iraq in a better place today because of it. that is another statement. in fact, sin the withdrawal of our forces in 2011, a fragile political accommodation made possible by the surge of 2007, is unralphed over the past year. al qaeda and iraq is immobilized. the maliciouses are gaining strength and the country on the brink of civil war as protest against the government and the iranian war craft are over-- there are many other examples.
10:19 pm
nevertheless, senator hagel is equally -- despite conditions on the grounder the advice of military commanders. the confused responses and specific questions about president obama's iran policy during the dporn make hearing last month which they quote somewhere between baffling and incomp henble." i'm more deeply considered by the overall record on the issue. >> your time is expired. >> i ask for two additional minutes. >> reserving the right to object. let me ask how much more time is remaining. >> nineteen minutes. >> i ask unanimous consent the last two speakers be the last one being me the next to the last one senator graham and given 12 minutes.
10:20 pm
five minutes for senator graham. seven minutes for me. that's on our side. >> reserving the right to object. would come out of the -- >> the senator is correct. >> yes. >> no objection. >> without objection. >> no objection. >> without objection. >> finally, senator hagel opposition to the use of sanctions -- opposes international stability alarming and cause other nations to doubt the credibility of the presence, commitments, senator hagel is an honorable man. with sacrifice much and bravely for our nation. about the character and love of country, there can be no doubt or debate. however, his positions on the principle national security issues facing our country, the
10:21 pm
iranian nuclear program, resurge gent islam terrorist threat in north africa and the middle east. the complete lack of experience in running such size and complexity. despite miest teem on the basis of the recordly not support the conformation. i say this with regret. but he is the wrong person at the worst time for the job this day we can must do better. i thank my colleagues. >> thank you. >> ma'am president? >> the senator from . >> i yield five minutes to the senator from florida. >> the senator from florida. >> madam president, i want to speak on behalf of asking my colleagues to support senator
10:22 pm
hagel's nomination. and let me hit a couple of highlights. he volunteered to go in to the army during vietnam. he was assigned to germany. he volunteered to go to vietnam. his brother was assigned in one part of vietnam, he in another. his brother and he, his brother tom, asked to be in the same unit while on patrol in the jungles at night, his brother saved his life, and on another patrol at night, his brother -- he saved his brother's life. he was wounded twice. he was medevaced. he asked to go back to the
10:23 pm
fight. he has served as deputy administrator of the department of veteran's affairs with a quarter of a million employees under his management. he represented the state of nebraska in the senate for twelve years, he coauthored the post 9/11 g.i. bill with senator web. out of uniform and away from capitol hill, he has lead the uso. now, this is an exceptionally capable man who is a patriot, who has given extensive testimony to the senator armed services committee. he has cleared up the issues that have been asked over and over and over including one that
10:24 pm
was raised about his role in altering the global zero report, first the report didn't propose anything, it was in the word specifically used in the front end of the report, it was ill lusttive sprue posing nothing but laying out different scenarios and possibilities. there was nothing that was proposed in a recommendation that we unlaterally disarm, eliminate the triad, and that would especially be so since another one of the coauthors was general cartwright, the former commander of u.s. strategic command and the eighth vice chairman of the joint of chiefs. this is a critical time for national defense. it's a critical time of our country. we need to get on and approve the nomination so he can get on
10:25 pm
with his duties as secretary of defense. thank you, ma'am. thank you. madam president. let me . >> thank you. i would like anonymous consent to introduce in the record a opinion piece by the editorial board. "the washington post," december 18, 2012. >> without objection. >> and this is an editorial about the nomination of senator hagel. the secretary of defense. "washington post" said mr. hagel's stated position on critical issues ranking from defense spending to iran fall well to the left of those proposed by president obama during the first term and place him near the fringe of the senate would be asked to confirm him. the last line is mr. hagel's honorable man who served the
10:26 pm
country with distinction as a soldier in vietnam and who was respected by fellow senators. president obama can make a better choice for defense secretary. that sums up where i'm at. -- it's about the times which we live. and i would leek to echo the statement about "the washington post" about being out of the main stream. two hearings here and we'll have a couple of votes it looks like in the next week or so. to my colleagues about the cloture vote today. you have ever right to say now is not the time to end the debate on senator hagel. he's reported out of committee at 5:00 tuesday. there's legitimate questions there's information that we haven't gathered that we should be able have a opportunity to look at people on the committee a chance review the information. and the idea of waiting makes sense. we'll have a better informed decision. the debate should continue at least are in period of time.
10:27 pm
now, senator kerry was able to get out of committee and vote on the same day because of all of felt comfortable with john kerry even though we disagree with the politics. i believe john care i have a good man. on the opposite issues twiems when it come toss a -- initially syria. but i always thought he was in the mainstream of the debate. he got 97 votes because we felt comfortable. you can tell people on our side and others quite frankly in the democratic party expressed discomfortable. i would argue after the hearing there's more discomfortable than before the hearing that senator inhofe and senator eleven we had a good hearing but to me it was unnerving some of the things that came out of the hearing. the performance was created more questions and doubt than it created confidence. and that is the question. "the washington post" posed, is senator hagel -- it's one thing to be in the left lane, the
10:28 pm
right lane, or the center lane. i would say that senator hagel statements and votes put him in the league of his own. and that is why i will vote no. when it comes to vale, this statement jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here. i'm not a israeli senator. i'm a united states senator. -- apologized but think for a minute how many would say that? and when i ask his name one senate -- he couldn't name one senator. i said name one policy we have enacted because of the jewish israel lobby. he couldn't name a policy. we found out today, i don't know if it verified it. it's posted that eight of his reported that during a speech senator hagel gave several years ago, he said that the united states department of state was the extension of israeli government. this is showing a chip on one
10:29 pm
shoulder about israel. an unhealthy statement to say the least. and i think false but unnerving to guy like me. i can only imagine what signal statements send at the dangerous times. on iran, he was one of two senators to vote against renewing unilateral u.s. sanctions against iran and libya in 2001. he's one of twelve senators who didn't sign a letter asking the e.u. to declare hezbollah a terrorist . >> one minute remaining. >> the terrorist organization in 2007 while killing our soldiers in iraq. he refused to sign a letter to president george w. bush talking -- he said to engage direct, talks with the government of iran. he was for that telling bush to do it. he voted against the iranian sanctions.
10:30 pm
he was one of two senators who failed to sign a letter to president clinton showing unconditional support for the state of israel. i would argue his record when it comes to iran and vale and statements he made put him well out of the mainstream and "the washington post" is right on the fridge. and now is the time to have somebody on the fringe of iran and israel serving as secretary of defense for the reason. ly vote no. debate should continue and when we get back unless there's a bomb shell. thank you. >> thank you. i yield the floor. senator from michigan. >> yield five minutes for the senator of wfd. >> senator from west virginia. >>. >> madam president. proudly support chuck hagel for secretary of defense. if he can make it through the
10:31 pm
jungle of jamb. val. america needs chuck as secretary of defense to bring our troops home and keep our military the strong nest the world. he's an american hero. when so many americans were dodging the draft he volunteered to serve at vietnam. it gave him the option to return to college. he refused. he said, i think the best thing for me is to go in the army and t may not be the best thing for the army. i think it's watt toy get all of the straight end out. i was the oldest of four boys, he said, my father passed away and i just was not coming together the way i thought. there was a war going on in vietnam i felt a sense of some responsibility so i said, no, i think it's time to go. and so i volunteered for the draft. went in the army and celebrated my 21st birthday in missile range. and chuck didn't serve. when assigned to germany he protested and asked to go to vietnam. so he volunteered for vietnam
10:32 pm
and saw the war is war an ingrant try sergeant. they risked their live to save each other's. tom -- hoping, praying his older brother would make it out of vietnam alive. and chuck returned to the favor by dragging tom out of a burning vehicle just before it exploded saving his brother's life. you talk about brothers in arm, these were real brothers in arms. these experiences made chuck who he is. and they help you and me understand why he is the right man to run the pentagon and put in charge of defending america. listen to how chuck describes what was it was like to serve in vietnam. he said, quote, i walked a lot of point. my brother and i walked a lot of point. which was all right. you know what happens to a lot of point men? we i always felt a little brother if i was up front.
10:33 pm
he is willing to walk point for america now. he's been walking point for most of his life. as chuck describes a pointman, a pointman as i think most people know is the individual who is out in front. and these are usually squad sized patrols sometimes the company sized patrol. defending on the mission and you have the front physically the front position but also the responsibility of a essentially not walking your squad or your company in to an ambush, ambush or trap. so you had to be very, very focused on the vision and the antenna and the sense and the instijt that something doesn't look right or grenade hanging in trees. which booby traps were a way of life. you dealt with it all the time. there were a lot of guys who didn't pay attention to it. that's the way they were. i again, felt better if i was up front than maybe some others. let me repeat that. change hagel felt better up front where it was most dangerous. we live in dangerous times
10:34 pm
today. we man a like chuck hagel right now who is seen the horrors of war and do all he can to prevent another jen appreciation seeing them. my interactionsactions with chuck i have been struck by the honesty, the sincerity and the common sense approach. i know, that if he were still a u.s. senator we would be great friends. that's because we come from similar backgrounds and the same generation. he's like many americans. he grew up in a working class within salt of the earth family. and chuck's words he was raised in littletown nebraska with a local leaguen hall was the center of the universe. i can go on and on about chuck. let me say this in closing, when i think about people and go to my little town and community where i grew up in west virginia and i know chuck grew up in a small town in nebraska. i said i can shake people's hands and look hem in the high and they can see my soul. they know if i'm telling the
10:35 pm
truth or not. i want to say to all of you, i have shook chuck's hands, i looked in his eye and a soul of a good man. a man i want leading this country. taking care of our youth, infantry, and men and women in the uniform. i hope any colleagues will consider voting for chuck. thank you. >> senator from rhode island. >> can i make a parliament tear inquire. how much time does each side have. >> the democrats have 22 minutes. and the republicans have 12 minutes. >> thank you, madam president. i would yield myself five minutes. >> the senator from rhode island. >> madam president, as so many colleagues have described, chuck chuck hagel is a soldier, patriot, businessman. as i colleague pointed out he could have chosen a easier path in the '60s. but he choose the most difficult. not only joined the army but to
10:36 pm
volunteer for vietnam when had the opportunity serve honorable in europe. he joined his brother. he went combat. he knows the pressure of men and women face. e knows the decision we make here and the decisions made in the pentagon ultimately are carried out by the young men and women in uniform. i can't think of anyone over the last several decades who have learned that lesson so well. the other thing that is so impressive it's not just a one dimensional résume. he was a businessman. very successful. had his own company. created jobs, created opportunities. was deputy administrator. he's run a large federal agency. very seldom do people to come to one of the position having run a federal agency or being the
10:37 pm
second in command. he's a united states senator. he knows well the procedure and the personality that are here in the united states congress. but to me one of the most compelling endorsement comes from those who have actually done the job before. when bob gates and bill cohen and bill perry stand up and say this is the person for the job, you've got believe that. these gentleman have done the job. for republican presidents and democratic presidents. they have done it with great distinction. and when you get someone like -- in my view probably one of the most knowledgeable and authorityive voices on national security the national security adviser for george h.w. bush who weighs in along with madeline all bright. you have the compelling evidence in testimony of those who have don't job that chuck hagel can
10:38 pm
do the job. and a lot has been said and discussed about does he truly appreciate the relationship between the united states and some of the closest allies particularly israel. here you have the current deputy foreign minister of israel who also served as our ambassador from israel to the united states saying he's met him. he feels he has is a true unking of the natural partnership between the united states and vale. again, compelling evidence. add to that, the unconditional endorsement of former united states ambassador to israel. american patriots who dedicated themselves to maintain that relationship. the evidence accumulates more and more that the president has chosen well and wisely. this is a critical time.
10:39 pm
we're looking at conflicts in afghanistan. we're looking at a -- budget problem that never faced in previous secretary of defense that have to be addressed within week and days. there's a meeting next week for our defense minister. we have to maintain the alliances. all forces come together. so i think the evidence is overwhelming. the president has chosen well and wisely. let me make one final point. this is a historic vote. why my recollection. no candidate no nominee has been defeatedded, delayed or dismissed on procedural vote. that our history suggests because of this office, because it is one so closely associated with the president making life
10:40 pm
or death decisions that deference is given to that choice. at least that it's nauticalled up in a procedure battle. there's an up or down vote. my colleagues in good faith have to capital study vote aye or nay. to defeat someone on procedural is unprecedented. as a result i would urge it be -- the procedural motion be carried cloture be dispensed with and get ton express our true feelings based on the evidence and based on our best judgment of whether or not senator hagel should serve as secretary of defense. with they yield the floor. >> senator from oklahoma. >> thank you. i think we'll probably have some
10:41 pm
more have time a little bit later on. i may stay with the amount of time. i guess -- i can't make that work. there we go. let me first of all start off by saying i agree with almost everything that they have said on both sides about chuck hague. i agree he was a hero. i think of my own army career and how much greater his was. that isn't the issue here. i think both senator graham and mccain said it well. they yes, it is character is one of whom. we love the guy. he served the country. those things are true. the problem is, what the stance he has taken primarily and most of what they said this to deal with vale and countries like iran. these are countries that israel historically been close ally of ours and i often said the only true ally in the middle east you
10:42 pm
can always count on. but i think that we need to look at this as the individual how he would act judging from his performance as the secretary of defense. now let me say this, the vote coming up at 4:15, there is the vote for or against hagel. all of this talk about the procedure vote and filibustering. no. this is the vote that takes place in term of whether or not chuck hagel should be the next secretary of defense. now this statement that has been made over and over and over again that this is the first time it has ever happened. look, we have people all the time in cabinet positions who are subjected to a 60-vote threshold. it happens all the time. you know, i look at just some of what i have right here starting on the republican side. i can remember when kathleen
10:43 pm
sibl use secretary of for health and human services in 2009. a lot of people didn't think show would be good. they objected to it so it would be forced in to a-60-vote threshold. job was up for secretary of commerce. i county think he would make a secretary of commerce. i opposed him. he was subjected to the 60-vote margin. here's the interesting thing. if you look today we have barack obama, democrat president of the united states. and harry reid the majority leader. and the democrats are in control of both. if you think back at what happened back in during the last bush administration, we had exactly the reverse. george bush was president of the united states, and the democrats were the minority. same situation. so what happened? first of all, we had both come
10:44 pm
up. john bolton same thing. subjected to a 60-vote margin. we had steve -- we remember dirk, there a lot of people that it not approve of him. he was appointed by bush, a republican, and then when he came over here the democrats didn't like him. they subjected him to a 60-vote margin. that wasn't a filibuster. it's not a filibuster today. people are trying to blame me the bad guy causing a filibuster. it's not the case at all. it anymore the case than the 2005, 2006, and other times when we had a nominee put forth by president wush who was objected to by the democrat. dirk when he was nominated to be the secretary of entire job, there was a lot of opposition to them. we said we have to subject him
10:45 pm
to a 60-vote threshold. well, that was the cabinet position. it seemed to be drawing a distinction for some reason between the secretary of defense and in 05 other cabinet position on a level. they are the same it happens over and over again. rob portman and senator portman, the same thing happened to him when he was appointed by bush to the u.s. trade representative it was subjected to first so he would have been subjected to a 60-vote they shall hold. one that is interesting is steven johnson. bush appointed him to be the epa administrator. he was a guy that i had thought a lot of and democrat. so we had here bush a republican, appointing a democrat that was objected to by the democrats. now we have obama, a democrat nominating a republican, and objected to by the republicans.
10:46 pm
exactly the reverse. exactly. there's no difference at all. and so i think it should be abundantly clear to everyone that member of the committee, i'm the ranking member of the armed service committee. every member of the committee,ly tanned up and welcome to make sure they have all. quos answered. that's what the consent is all about. we want to look at the individual in the case of our committee and make sure everyone has a chance to fully looked at the process and make shoo that everybody is out there. i see this is a funny thing, madam president, the junior senator from texas, senator cruz lost his voice. for a senator to lose his voice, that's what worse can happen than that? so he's not able to speak. but if he could, i would say that he would say it's not so much my concern, which is all of the issues that had been
10:47 pm
articulated by senator mccain graham, it would be the process. the fact that here's a guy that didn't want to a new member of the committee came in and knew he was entitled to let me -- i give myself three additional minutes. he was entitled to have all of the questions answered. he tried now for weeks he tried. he is still he can't get them. so it's a process. he's not making any accusations. he said, i just want to have what i've asked for. and let me tell you, i have the out most respect for carl levin he and i inspite of what the media wishes. we get along great. we disagree now and then on policy. i like him. he said the other day, he said, quote, this is carl levin, every member repeated every member includes texas should add his or her voice to the demand for a
10:48 pm
production of relevant documents which senators need to decide on conformation or any other legitimate reason. i agree. and that's exactly what these individuals are asking for. they are asking for that information. now i regret he's -- i lost his voice today. it's funny. what happened in the past every time the opposition the minority has objected and wanted for procedurally have a 60-vote margin. it happened with a consent agreement. i asked for that and i think that we have that now. but we had to force it. i understand it. it's not a filibuster. it's a same thing that was required to requested back by harry reetd when he was the minority leader against johnson, against robert portman, dirk,
10:49 pm
this is a normal way of operating. a lot of us still don't have the information we want. i would say that i'm willing and they are willing, i checked with the people that not gotten all of the information they want. they said let's have the vote. are they caving in? they are doing all they can to be conciliatory. i think it's just, you know, we're doing everything we can. we're not filibustering. we don't want to string it out. i want to repeat one last time. this vote is the vote on chuck hagel. it's not on procedure or anything. on chuck hagel. i retain the balance of my time. >> senator from michigan. >> what time does the majority have? >> 17 minutes remain for the majority. and three minutes for the minority. >>. >> five minutes senate from illinois. >> senator from illinois.
10:50 pm
>> madam president, this is rare. twice in the history of the senate have we had a filibuster involving a nominee for a cabinet position. twice. especially disappointing about this as it was just a few weeks ago we came together on a bipartisan basis and said we're not going this anymore. we're going try to work together. we're going try to avoid the filibuster and here we have sadly an historic filibuster over an appointment of a former united states senator, chuck hagel, republican of nebraska, as secretary of defense. i know, there's controversy social associated with the nomination. i know, chuck hagel. i served with him. we served together in the united states senate. no question in my mind the president made a good choice. i'll also tell you need to know a little bit about the man to understand why it's an historic choice. chuck hagel volunteered and
10:51 pm
enlisted in the yieghts army during the vietnam era. that was not a casual decision. that was a time when enlisted in the army meant you might risk your life. he lucked out and got stationed in a theater wasn't at war. he volunteered to go to vietnam. he volunteered as an inenlisted man to go to vietnam. he went there with his brother. they served in the united states army. he was involved strictly in combat and given the purple heart for the service, and told personally about dais that he'll never forget as long as he lives. so does chuck hagel know what it takes to be a soldier? does he know what it takes to lead the department of deafen? -- defense. i served with him. i know, his feelings on the issue. when i listen to how some of the positions have been distorted, i find it hard to believe chuck headache l was a conservative republican senator and honest
10:52 pm
man of integrity. some thicks have been said about him, some charges made in the course of the armed service committee were embarrassing, mr. chairman. they were embarrassing. to think that colleagues in the united states senate would say that about a man they knew and served with personally they should have known were the to say. that's why we are here today. the sad real city i've listened to many republican senators who are not going vote for chuck hagel come up and talk about how important it is to fill the position. the north koreans detonate nuclear devices this week and raise concerns over the part of the world and beyond. we know what is going on in the middle east in syria and other places. we still have 68,000 plus american soldiers who are literally risking their lives while we meet in the comfort and security of the senate chamber in afghanistan they are risking their lives and we are saying, well, we would like to appoint a
10:53 pm
secretary of defense. we have to make a political point here today. we have to vote against him today and put off for ten days. we may reconsider again. god for bid something awful occurs. i hope doesn't. there are still good people at the pentagon. i'm sure they'll do a good job. we should have that secretary of defense. one of the most critical appointment in the president's cabinet filled. the notion we have to make a political stand here and stop chuck hagel today to make some political point troubles me. some of of the requests for information about chuck hagel go beyond any of the standards of disclosure we have seen before. this isn't fair. it isn't fair to chuck hagel. it isn't fair to the president. it certainly isn't fair to the men and women in uniform across the united states and around the holder are risking their lives for this country. those who come to the floor
10:54 pm
swallow your pride. let's not have this sad historic filibuster on this appointment to the president's cabinet. i hope my colleagues will reflect on what chuck hagel has meant in his life as a service to the country. , his service to the state of nebraska, and his service to the nation. as the united states senator. he's a good man. he'll do a good job in the department of defense. i trust the president's judgment. it for anyone making a political point in order to show the president we can fill filibuster. it was a few weeks ago we stood up and said we are going to be thoughtful about the use of the full buster in the future to not politicalize it. and steady a serious disappoint. i yield the floor. may i can senator levin.
10:55 pm
>> i would be happy to yield the time to the senator of california. how many minutes? >> whatever you wish. >> how many minutes? >> 12 minutes. >> thank you. >> senator from california. >> thank you, plt. i'm glad we're voted on the president's choice for secretary of defense, chuck hagel. our former colleague. i stand here at the senator who had a number of questions about some of the things he said in past and so. votes he cast. and some of his philosophy. and what i did soon i learned he was the president's pick, remember the president's commander in chief. this is a critical appointment. it's got to be minute he has his faith in. he puts his trust in. and he picks someone a brave hero who served in vietnam. i wrote all of my questions
10:56 pm
down, and believe me, they coffered some tough ground. tough ground on women's rights, on gay rights, on iran, israel, a number of questions. and i asked, and if it would be all right if when the answers came we could put online and people could see the answers. and absolutely the answer came back yes. and the answers to my questions were very clear and very strong. senator hagel has evolved on certain issues, he admitted mistake in a couple of. that's a hard thing for any politician to admit. four words that we hate to say. i made a mistake. and he admitted it on a couple of issues. and i just think the way he's being treated here is so sad. it's so sad. and when i watch some of the questioning from my colleagues,
10:57 pm
not all of them, a couple of them, and i'm not referring to my dear, dear, dear friend senator inhofe. it was reminiscent of a different time and place when you said, i have here in my pocket a speech you made of such and such date. nothing in the pocket. it was reminiscent of bad times. i'm so glad we're voting here today. i know, it's going to be a close vote. i don't know what the outcome is. i believe eventually this good man will be the secretary of defense. i believe that any my heart. but if anyone is still undecided on this vote, let's understand that never in the history have we had a 60-vote requirement, to my knowledge, for a nominee for secretary of defense. if i'm wrong, i hope to be corrected. and there's a reason for it. lord knows i was one of the key voices of dissent on the iraq
10:58 pm
war. and i wasn't happy about a lot of the people that were put in to place by george w. bush. believe me, i didn't want to see them continuing those positions. i think they lead us astray in iraq and lead to so many thousand of deaths, but i never dreamed 77 requiring a 60-vote majority. this is not a good day for the senate, in my view. and i know my friends is sincere. i have to say i'm on the foreign relations committee. i'm a senior member of the committee, we have listen to the state department on benghazi, we had briefings and hearings and answers came, and we had secret briefings that are highly classified. we had open hearings. i would ask for thirty seconds. >> without objection. >> and i've got to say what more
10:59 pm
are you trying to get out of this? benbenghazi was a crisis. it was a disaster. it was terrible. there should have been more security there, but don't blame the brave americans for it. blame the terrorists who did this. and as the facts became available, those facts came right out. why are we trying to stop this good man because of something he had nothing to do with? in closing, i hope if you are on the fence, you'll vote today for chuck hagel. and a yes vote on cloture.

Tonight From Washington
CSPAN February 14, 2013 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

News/Business. News.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Hagel 34, Iraq 30, Us 24, U.s. 23, Chuck Hagel 18, United States 17, Vietnam 16, Rodriquez 14, Rodriguez 12, Pakistan 12, Syria 12, Chuck 12, Centcom 12, Austin 11, Benghazi 11, Israel 9, America 9, Graham 9, Iran 8, Washington 8
Network CSPAN
Duration 03:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 17 (141 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 2/15/2013